Wine is a gluten-free drink, in general, which means that champagne would also be considered gluten-free. However, there are some instances where cross-contamination can occur during the processing and packaging of wines, especially if barrels that were once used to hold malt-based beverages are recycled for use as champagne casks.
Although this practice of reusing neutral barrels isn't commonplace, there are also glutenous materials still involved in producing wine—like the wheat-based pastes used to seal barrels—that are quickly being removed from the processes altogether as producers become more aware of the rising trend of gluten-intolerant people and those suffering from celiacs disease.
Still, if you have a favorite wine or champagne you'd like to try but are extremely allergic to gluten, it might be best to call your wine company for a quick answer on the potential for gluten contamination before buying.
Why Champagne Is Gluten-Free
True champagne—and other sparkling wines—is made from a particular type of grape that's fermented through a specific process, and although this process involves yeast fermentation as well, the type of yeast used in creating the carbon responsible for bubbles in sparkling wine is not associated with wheat.
Still, the United States does not allow for foods to be labeled gluten-free if any part of the facility or process that makes them contains glutenous ingredients or products side-by-side with the product being sold, so if you don't see a gluten-free label on the bottle, make sure to call the manufacturer if you have an allergy to gluten (as opposed to an intolerance).
The truth of the matter is that even in wine production that does involve gluten in the processing, fermenting, and storage of grapes, the cross-contamination is so slight that people that are slightly bothered by eating bread or gluten-rich foods will likely not feel anything at all from drinking champagne, and even those with celiacs are more than likely to remain unaffected due to the trace amounts of gluten that might have transferred over.
Other Alcoholic Beverages That Are Gluten-Free
As stated, most wines are naturally gluten-free, though some producers may add glutenous products after fermentation to provide an additional flavor pallet to a vintage. For the most part, though, you're relatively safe when it comes to red, white, or sparkling wines in terms of not containing gluten.
Additionally, most alcoholic beverages that are distilled are also gluten-free, as are most that are fermented like ciders or cognacs, and recently, a number of gluten-free beers have also hit the market, allowing for those with gluten intolerance or celiacs disease to once again enjoy a cold beer on a hot day without worrying about the resulting digestive issues.
Beverages generally considered safe for those with celiac or mild gluten allergies include ciders, wines, gluten-free wine coolers, gluten-free and gluten-removed beers, brandy, Campari, cognac, Cointreau, grappa, Midori, proseccos, liqueurs, most tequilas, some sakes, all non-grain and non-wheat vodkas, sambuca, vermouth, gluten-free gin, and gluten-free rum.